Category Archives: Press

Haute Secrets: Tommy Kato Shares His Favorite Places in Miami

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Marianne Dieterich & Thomas (Tommy) Kato at Floyd Mayweather’s 40th Birthday Party

The Miami Beach resident and Harvard alum is a modern-day renaissance man. Thomas (Tommy) Kato is known for many accomplishments, including developing commercial properties for Fortune 100 companies, becoming Founder & CEO of global credit card processing company Merchant Hub, playing worldwide exhibition polo and backing children’s charities. Find out the inside scoop on his Haute Secrets to Miami:

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Where were you born: Michigan

How long in Miami: 10 years

Neighborhood: South Beach

Occupation: Real Estate

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What Makes Tommy Kato Haute?

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Haute Living came out with it’s 100 most influential people in Miami – big names such as Lebron James, Donald Trump, and James Franco are on it. It comes to no surprise however, to see Tommy Kato, CEO of Merchant Hub listed this year. He started the successful real estate development firm, Kato companies, which develops commercial use properties for retailers and many Fortune 100 companies.

He is founder and CEO of Merchant Hub, a multi national payment processing company with offices throughout the United States, London, Milan and Brazil. He is also on the board of directors for the South Beach-based healthstyle brand whose mission is to help end child hunger in America. Our hats off to you Tommy!

Three-way Shootout awaits Polo Finalists in Miami Beach Event

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Beachgoers making their way to Miami Beach certainly got their fair share of sun and surf on Saturday, but they also had a chance to catch a glimpse of something a little different.

The La Martina Miami Beach Polo World Cup IX, in its second day, drew a diverse crowd that included curious onlookers and featured three exhilarating matches that were each decided by a single goal.

Raleigh/Comcast, La Martina and Grey Goose emerged as winners of their respective matches and will face each other in a three-way shootout to determine who will play in Sunday’s championship match.

After intermingling with spectators at the conclusion of the afternoon matches, players from the teams were impressed by the event’s festive feel, seeing the event as a step in the right direction for a sport looking to extend its reach in South Florida and beyond.

“It was a crazy atmosphere, and I think the crowd just loves it,” John Gobin of Raleigh/Comcast said. “It’s perfect for polo, and the crowd this year seems bigger. It’s just a lot more fun.”

Kris Kampsen of Small Luxury Hotels (SLH) added: “It’s amazing. This event being here on the beach opens the game to a whole new audience that never normally consider going to a polo game, and it broadens the horizon of the sport.”

In the opening match of the day, Raleigh/Comcast, with a four-goal lead in the final chukker against James Hotel/JetBlue, appeared to be headed for a comfortable win, but a late push by James Hotel/JetBlue tied the score with just over a minute to go.

But Juan Monteverde, who led Raleigh/Comcast with nine goals, scored moments later to give it the lead and a 14-13 victory.

“Our game was rough, tough fast … it was back-and-forth the whole time,” said Gobin, who added five goals in the winning effort. “At the end of the day we pulled it off.”

La Martina’s team jumped out to an early three-goal lead in the first chukker of its match with Merchant Hub. That would be the largest lead of the match, however, as Merchant Hub went on the attack and tied the score at 5 just before the end of the second chukker.

But a balanced offensive effort for La Martina, led by four goals each from Santi Torres and Carlos Gracida, was enough to outlast Merchant Hub in an 11-10 win.

Grey Goose and SLH, in the afternoon’s last match, ended the tournament’s second day in thrilling fashion.

Trailing by three goals with time winding down in the fourth and final chukker, Kampsen came up big for SLH with an impressive two-point shot through the uprights followed by a converted penalty shot to tie the score at 12.

Unfortunately for SLH, it was enough as Grey Goose’s Vincent Mesker converted his seventh penalty shot of the game with 16 seconds remaining to lift his team to a 13-12 win. Mesker finished with a team-high eight goals.

“There was a lot of pressure and it was very hectic in that moment,” Mesker said. “A shot like that messes with your mind.”

Three-way shootout awaits polo finalists in Miami Beach event. 2013, April 28. By Joel Delgado. Retrieved from http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/27/3368998/three-way-shootout-awaits-polo.html.

Sand Polo On Miami Beach – NBC ‘Six In The Mix’

 

Six years ago Tommy Kato watched the Miami Beach Polo World Cup, mesmerized by the athletes and horses.

Following the final match, Kato approached one of the top U.S. players — Luis Escobar — about learning how to play the sport. He had no previous experience riding a horse.

Kato hired Escobar as an instructor and bought a couple of thoroughbred horses, practicing four to five days a week for two years at Santa Clara Polo Club in Wellington. The following year, he began participating in tournaments before entering the world cup as a player in 2012. Continue reading

Beach Buzz: Polo competition returning to South Beach – Miami Beach – MiamiHerald.com

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Polo returns to the sands of South Beach (between 20th and 22nd Streets) April 25-28.

The competition begins April 25 with the South Beach Women’s Polo Cup. The day-long series of round-robin matches features eight teams, including 2012 champs Cecilia Cochran and Alicia Harden, and SMU’s Pamela Flanagan and Tiffany Busch (of the Anheuser-Busch family).

Friday through Sunday (April 26-28), six men’s teams will vie for the ninth annual Miami Beach Polo World Cup. Players include the legendary Carlos Gracida of Mexico, Kris Kampsen of the United States (last year’s MVP), and Luis Escobar of Costa Rica.

Riding alongside Escobar is his teammate and “patron” (team owner): Tommy Kato of Miami Beach. Kato, 40, owns Merchant Hub, a Beach-based credit-card processing company. He attended the event six years ago — and was hooked.

“I’d never ridden a horse before, and when I saw that game, I decided I needed to play in that tournament,” Kato said.

He took polo lessons from Escobar’s Santa Clarita ranch/school in Wellington — and later bought thoroughbreds from Escobar, including two (Julio and Sanyo) that will participate in this year’s competition. Continue reading

Merchant Hub CEO, Thomas Kato Takes on The Sport of Kings

Thomas Kato at the 2012 Maserati Miami Beach World Polo Cup

For it’s 8th year in a row, the 2012 Maserati Miami Beach Polo World Cup brought the “sport of kings” to the shores of South Beach this past weekend.  First held in 2005, the Miami Beach Polo World Cup features an international lineup of competition, with polo teams coming from as far away as Argentina, Brazil, and Germany to compete for the La Martina Trophy.  All Miami Beach Polo World Cup polo matches are held on the beach — making the South Florida polo tournament “the world’s largest and most prestigious Polo Tournament on the Beach.” drawing celebrities and top-notch, famous polo players including, Nacho Figueras, Jamie Morrison, Luis Escobar, and Nic Roldan to name a few.

Polo Player Kris Kampsen with Directors from Gascon Wines, Polo Player Nic Roldan, and Polo Player Thomas Kato at the opening for the 2012 Maserati Miami Beach Polo World Cup

Thomas Kato, Merchant Hub CEO, first developed an interest and passion for polo 5 years ago when he attended the Miami Beach Polo World Cup in 2007 and told himself, “I have to learn how to play polo and ride so I can play in this tournament.”  Merchant Hub has been involved in the sport of polo all over the world sponsoring competitions in London, China, Palm Beach, and Miami.  This year though marked the entry for Kato into the professional world of polo as a player for Team Lufthansa in the Miami Beach Polo World Cup.  Kato also served as the team patron and hired legendary polo players Luis Escobar and Jamie Morrison to play alongside him.

Thomas Kato with Merchant Hub sponsored Argentine team at the HPA Gaucho International in London led by Team Captain, Nacho Figueras.

Thomas Kato and Adolfo Cambiaso, World Renowned Polo Player taking in a charity polo match.

On Friday, Kato’s team – Lufthansa Private Jet was matched against The Raleigh and were defeated with a score of 9-6.  As play continued Saturday against Yellow Cab, although Lufthansa was not able to cinch the win, Kato did score his first goal for the team.  Well done!

“I feel really good about how we played this weekend.  I’m excited and motivated to work even harder training to become a better polo player and looking forward to competing in my next professional polo match.” said Kato.

Thomas Kato at the Santa Clara Polo Club in Wellington, FL.

Congratulations Thomas on such an incredible achievement and we too look forward to following your aspiring career in the esteemed sport of polo.

Big Bets on Polo Could Yield Billions

There’s a new old game in town and a lot of very smart people are placing big bets on it.

The old game is polo, and this weekend it’s being played on white sand in front of the blue-green Atlantic in the fabulous and famously hot town of Miami Beach.

Thomas Kato (pictured in photo) Merchant Hub CEO, patron for Lufthansa’s polo team, & returning Miami Beach Polo Sponsor feels it is, “a great corporate bonding experience for our employees and an excellent way for us to give even more back to our merchants“.

And though you won’t see any upfront betting on these very expensive ponies and their star-studded riders, behind the scenes there’s big money being wagered that polo will be the next global super-sport.

Event producers, sponsors, and advertisers are betting that polo, already a magnet for the super-rich, can attract a huge audience of average Joes, who even if they aren’t aspiring up the economic ladder can enjoy rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous and drinking, dressing and driving what’s being dangled in front of them as the good life.

Polo is being cross-marketed to a cross-section of the global population. And, while the usual high-end brands are big sponsors, middle-market and economy-brand sponsors and advertisers want in on the good life gravy train.

Reposted from Forbes, article by: Shah Gilani

Click link to continue reading: http://www.forbes.com/sites/shahgilani/2012/04/27/big-bets-on-polo-could-yield-billions/